Saturday, September 21, 2019, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Rangeley Chairlift, July 2019
In a letter released by Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust yesterday, Arctaris Impact Fund announced discussions with Saddleback ownership "have ground to a halt."
According to the letter, "The family seems to have been influenced to continue to entertain other potential buyers rather than close with Arctaris."
Arctaris had entered into a preliminary agreement to purchase the area in June with an expected completion date of November. The group was hoping to reopen the ski area this winter.
Based out of Boston, Arctaris Impact Fund was formed in 2018 to "invest in Low and Moderate Income communities throughout the U.S., addressing underserved and underbanked businesses that are poised for growth." The fund is a subsidiary of Arctaris, which was founded in 2009. According to the company's web site, Arctaris's co-founder is Jonathan D. Tower, who worked for Fidelity and IBM. Former Maine Winter Sports Center (Big Rock, Black Mountain, and Quoggy Jo) CEO Andy Shepard has been involved in the deal.
Sandy Chairlift, July 2019
The Saddleback saga dates back to July 2015, when the Berry family, owners of the ski area since 2003, announced the Rangeley double chairlift was "at end of its useful life" and that operations would cease if the lift could not be replaced. The lift was not replaced and the ski area sat idle for the following two winters.
On June 28, 2017, the Berry family announced Saddleback was being sold to the Majella Group. At that time, Majella announced the sale would be completed later in the summer and the area would reopen with a new fixed grip quad chairlift and T-Bar. The deal was never completed, the lifts never installed, and the area never reopened. Majella CEO Sebastian Monsour was arrested for alleged investor fraud June 2018. Majella's Portland, Maine development company, 32 Thomas Street LLC, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2019. Majella branding has been removed from the Saddleback web presence.